Napster is set to launch a new web3 arm, Napster Ventures, and have hired former vice president and global head of music at online gaming platform Roblox as its CEO.
Napster Ventures will lend its focus to nurturing and acquiring web3 music startups, reportedly adding a marketplace in which artists can sell their NFTs. In partnership with Napster, Algorand — who acquired the streaming giant earlier this year along with Hivemind — is also launching an artist development fund to help support the global launch of these web3 projects and help artists get ahead in Web3.
In an interview with Forbes earlier this week (25th September), Vlassopulos said the company will continue to build on its existing streaming service while "simple things like profiles" will start to become "wallets for both artists and users almost overnight, without any fancy jargon... You log in and you see, ‘Oh I have a bunch of goodie bags in my profile.’ And based on 20 years of data we think we have a pretty good handle on what people might like and might not like," he added.
Founded in 1999 as a pioneering peer-to-peer file-sharing service focused on MP3s, Napster currently has a library of about 100 million licensed tracks. Its subscription base stood at 5.7 million at the end of 2020.
In 2020, Napster was purchased by MelodyVR, a UK-listed virtual reality platform, for $70million (£53m). MelodyVR, who have live streamed gigs by acts including Emeli Sandé, the Chainsmokers, and Cypress Hill, had aimed to transform Napster into "a truly next generation music service" by bringing VR technlogies into the picture.
However, in May 2022 Hivemind and Algorand announced their acquisition of Napster, with the latter also recently announcing their involvement in Limewire's relaunch as an NFT platform.
Napster Ventures has yet to announce a launch date. Check their site for updates.